pri·​or·​i·​ty | \ prī-ˈȯr-ə-tē How to pronounce priority (audio) , -ˈär- \
plural priorities

Definition of priority

1a(1) : the quality or state of being prior
(2) : precedence in date or position of publication used of taxa
b(1) : superiority in rank, position, or privilege
(2) : legal precedence in exercise of rights over the same subject matter
2 : a preferential rating especially : one that allocates rights to goods and services usually in limited supply that project has top priority
3 : something given or meriting attention before competing alternatives

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for priority


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of priority in a Sentence

Reorganizing the sales force will be a top priority for the new president. Getting the work done on time is a priority for me. She decided to go to the party instead of studying? Where are her priorities? I know you want to buy a new stereo, but right now, saving for college has to take priority.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web The ministry of sports there placed all prospective Olympic athletes, coaches and medical staff on the national priority list and began distributing shots of the vaccine to them on Feb. 11. New York Times, "Olympians Enter a Risky New Event: Line Jumping," 28 Feb. 2021 Each priority list represents an attempt to solve a difficult problem: How can a limited supply of vaccines be allocated in a way that balances science and politics while also being equitable and practical? Thuc Nhi Nguyen Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Coronavirus Today: Who’s next in the vaccine line?," 26 Feb. 2021 As Minnesota races to inoculate its K-12 teachers, one group of educators has been left off the vaccine priority list: College professors. Ryan Faircloth, Star Tribune, "College instructors question why they aren't being prioritized for vaccines," 26 Feb. 2021 Sometimes, the daily grind gets in the way and being the keeper of the vision doesn’t stay on the priority list. Doug Meyer-cuno, Forbes, "Is A Vision Statement Important?," 24 Feb. 2021 The Federal Trade Commission also warned that anybody offering a chance to jump ahead on the statewide priority list for a vaccination in exchange for money is a scammer. Christina Hall, Detroit Free Press, "Oakland County warns of possible COVID-19 vaccine appointment scam," 23 Feb. 2021 Reforming the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages the state’s power grid, and ensuring grid stability are now at the top of Patrick’s priority list, after passing a state budget. Dallas News, "Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s list of Senate priorities includes reforming energy grid, restricting abortion," 23 Feb. 2021 The competition for slots will only worsen when the COVID-19 vaccination priority list opens to the broader public. Tinglong Dai, The Conversation, "How to really fix COVID-19 vaccine appointment scheduling," 22 Feb. 2021 Tennessee last month joined a handful of states in moving the families of medically frail children like Carpenter up the vaccine priority list. Jonathan Mattise, ajc, "Caregivers of frail Tennessee kids get vaccine priority," 21 Feb. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'priority.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of priority

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about priority

Time Traveler for priority

Time Traveler

The first known use of priority was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for priority

Last Updated

3 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Priority.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for priority



English Language Learners Definition of priority

: something that is more important than other things and that needs to be done or dealt with first
US : the things that someone cares about and thinks are important
: the condition of being more important than something or someone else and therefore coming or being dealt with first


pri·​or·​i·​ty | \ prī-ˈȯr-ə-tē How to pronounce priority (audio) \
plural priorities

Kids Definition of priority

: a condition of being more important than other things


pri·​or·​i·​ty | \ prī-ˈȯr-ə-tē How to pronounce priority (audio) \
plural priorities

Legal Definition of priority

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: precedence in exercise of rights in the same subject matter secured interests have priority over unsecured ones



Legal Definition of priority (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : having precedence over another in the exercise of rights in the same subject matter a priority creditor a priority claim
2 : of or relating to priority a priority contest

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on priority

What made you want to look up priority? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

February 2021 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of perdure?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!